Rachel Corn and the Mystery of Cabin 13 | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Rachel Corn and the Mystery of Cabin 13


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Rachel Corn and the Mystery of Cabin 13, Corn Productions, at the Cornservatory. When the characters in Becky Werve's new musical mystery grow up and talk about their weekend in the woods, they'll have plenty of "When I was at band camp..." stories to share. While Rachel Corn (Jenny Lamb) and her friends investigate the strange noises coming from Cabin 13, her younger brother Bobby (Christopher Jacobs) befriends Felicity (Emily Churchill), a girl raised in the forest by bugs. Complicating the situation are a suspiciously shifty new music teacher and a rumor about a grumpy ghost wandering the forest looking for gold. Werve's multiple plots are revealed through a series of abrupt revelations and songs that are sometimes comic and sometimes scary (at least that's what the kids in the audience were saying).

Overall the show lacks polish, but this is still one of the more consistent Cornservatory casts I've seen. Lamb, Jacobs, Churchill, Kristen Freilich, and Dan Waters are hardworking, enthusiastic actors who generally avoid overplaying their parts. Keri Elser, Patrick Brooks, and Meg Spletzer also prove capable, but Edison Pongklub is obviously nervous. Werve's staging and Michelle Renee Thompson's choreography can be haphazard but include some smart touches. One well-played scene--a song and dance that rehashes the plot thus far to the tune of the B-52s' "Rock Lobster"--undermines the tension of the dramatic climax a bit but stands out as one of this 50-minute show's most entertaining moments.

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